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  A Memory Drug?

  IT’S DIFFICULT TO IMAGINE MANY THINGS that people would welcome more than a memory-enhancing drug. ____1____ Furthermore, such a drug could help people remember past experiences more clearly and help us acquire new information more easily for school and at work. As scientists learn more about memory, we are closing in on this tantalizing goal.1

  Some of the most exciting evidence comes from research that has built on earlier findings linking LTP2 and memory to identify a gene that improves memory in mice. ____2____ Mice bred to have extra copies of this gene showed more activity in their NMDA receptors,more LTP,and improved performance on several different memory tasks — learning a spatial layout3, recognizing familiar objects,and recalling a fear-inducing shock.

  If these basic insights about genes, LTP, and the synaptic basis of memory can be translated to people — and that remains to be seen — they could pave the way for memory-enhancing treatments. ____3____ As exciting as this may sound, it also raises troubling issues. Consider the potential educational implications of memory-enhancing drugs. If memory enhancers were available, children who used them might be able to acquire and retain extraordinary amounts of information, allowing them to progress far more rapidly in school than they could otherwise. How well could the brain handle such an onslaught of information? What happens to children who don’t have access to the latest memory enhancers? Are they left behind in school — and as a result handicapped later in life?

  ____4____ Imagine that you are applying for a job that requires a good memory,such as a manager at a technology company or a sales position that requires remembering customers’ names as well as the attributes of different products and services. Would you take a memory-enhancing drug to increase your chances of landing the position? Would people who felt uncomfortable taking such a drug find themselves cut out of lucrative career opportunities?

  Memory drugs might also help take the sting out of disturbing memories that we wish we could forget but can’t.4 The 2004 hit movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind told the story of a young man seeking just such freedom from the painful memories of a romantic breakup. As you will see in the section on persistence later in the chapter, emotionally arousing events often create intrusive memories, and researchers have already muted emotional memories with drugs that block the action of key hormones. Should emergency workers who must confront horrifying accident scenes that can burden them with persisting memories be provided with such drugs? Should such drugs be given to rape victims who can’t forget the trauma? Memory drugs might provide some relief to such individuals. But could they also interfere with an individual’s ability to assimilate and come to terms with a difficult experience?5 ____5____


  tantalizing 诱人 synaptic (解剖学)突触的

  steroid 类固醇 onslaught 大量

  lucrative 有利可图的 hit (演出等)成功  注释:

  1.As scientists learn more about memory, we are closing in on this tantalizing goal.随着科学家们对记忆了解增多,我们正接近这一诱人的目标。

  2.LTP&SNMDA:(Long-term Potentiation)给突触前纤维一个短暂的髙频剌激后,突触传递效率和强度增加几倍且能持续数小时至几天保持这种增强的现象。LTP发现海马LTP可能是学习记忆的分子基础。1973年Bliss及其合作者,电刺激麻醉兔的内嗅皮层,使海马表层的穿纤维兴奋,可在齿状回记录到场电位。先用高频电刺激几秒钟后,再用个电刺激,记录到的部分场电位幅度大大超过原先记录的对照值,并可持续几小时,几天。这一现象称为长时程增强效应(LTP)。1983年发现NMDA(N—甲基一D—门冬氨酸)受体通道复合体在LTP过程中起重要作用,进一步深化了对LTP在大脑学习记忆中作用的理解。

  3.a spatial layout:空间布局

  4.Memory drugs might also help take the sting out of disturbing memories that we wish we could forget but can’t:增强记忆药对我们想忘记却又不能的令人烦扰的记忆变得令人易于接受。 take the sting out of:使……易于被接受;使 ……令人感到愉快

  5.But could they also interfere with an individual’s ability to assimilate and come to terms with a difficult experience? 中的come to terms with:让步;屈服


  A Like steroids for bulking up the muscles, these drugs would bulk up memory.

  B A memory enhancer could help eliminate forgetting associated with aging and disease.

  C What are the potential implications of memory-enhancing drugs for the workplace?

  D We may find ourselves struggling with these kinds of questions in the not-too-distant future.

  E There is a pill that you could take every day to allow you to remember everything.

  F The gene makes a protein that assists the NMDA2 receptor,which plays an important role in long-term memory by helping to initiate LTP.


  1.B依据上一句的“很难想象一种提高人们记忆力的药会受到人们吹捧”;下面应该对这一现象做出解释,即这种药物有什么疗效;而后一句的Furthermore这一指示词起到了递进的作用,进一步说明这种药物的益处。More than :非常,极其,十分